Monday, May 15, 2006

We are taking it to the people!


It is the ever-important grass roots activism of individuals like you and groups like the California Nurses' Association that will spell victory in the fight for Clean Money!

Clean money petitions submitted
by Rebecca S. Bender

Petitions for the California Nurses’ Association clean money initiative were due Saturday, and organizers are confident that the initiative will be coming to the voters in November.

We are going to have enough signatures,” promised Liz Jacobs, a registered nurse and spokesperson for the California Nurses Association.

The group had to collect 373,816 signatures of California registered voters over a several-month period.

“It was a real push,” Jacobs said. “It was a statewide effort.”

The final cut-off date was Saturday, May 13, she added, though the group gave itself an end-of-April deadline to be on the safe side.

Once the petitions are turned in, county elections officials will perform a raw count and verify that the signatures are those of qualified, registered voters.

The Clean Money and Fair Elections Act would establish a voluntary system under which candidates could choose to run a clean money campaign, using public funds raised by an increase in corporate taxes. Candidates who opt not to use clean money would be subject to tight restrictions on their campaign contributions.

In addition, lobbyists and state contractors would be banned altogether from donating to candidates, and corporations would be limited to $10,000 donations to ballot measures.

Three other states — Arizona, Connecticut and Maine — have implemented similar publicly-funded election systems.

In addition to the CNA’s petition drive, a similar bill is also working its way through the state Senate, having garnered the support of the Assembly. AB 583, introduced by Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), sets up a Clean Money Fund administered by the Fair Political Practices Commission. The bill is now under consideration by a Senate subcommittee.